An apothegm is a short instructive saying that's easy to remember and sometimes even slightly witty, like "haste makes waste." An apothegm often expresses a fundamental truth or general rule.

To correctly pronounce apothegm, put the accent on the first syllable and give it the short a sound, as in apple: "A-puh-them." It comes from the Greek word apophthegma, meaning "terse, pointed saying," derived from apo-, meaning "from," and phthengesthai, meaning "to utter."

Definitions of apothegm
  1. noun
    a short pithy instructive saying
    synonyms: aphorism, apophthegm
    see moresee less
    type of:
    axiom, maxim
    a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
Word Family